It may be easy for people in Houston to summarily dismiss claims that a person accused of assaulting another was only acting in self-defense. Yet after having been in a situation were you felt your own safety (or that of those you love) threatened, you can understand such a scenario. So too can many of those that have come to see us here at Juan L. Guerra, Jr. & Associates, PLLC. The question that they (and likely you) share is exactly when is the use of force to defend yourself and others legally justified? 

Fortunately, little room for interpretation exists regarding the answer. Section 9.31 of the Texas Penal Code lists those scenarios where you are permitted to use force in response to a threat. These are: 

  • When you believe (or have reason to believe) that the person against whom you acted was attempting to forcibly enter your home, place of business or vehicle (or was attempting to remove you or another from any of these spots against your will), or to commit a violent crime, and; 
  • You were not the initial aggressor in the situation and did not provoke the person against whom you acted in any way, and; 
  • You were not otherwise engaged in any criminal activity at the time 

Conversely, you are not justified in using violent action in response to another if you provoked the other person, or you became engaged in a disagreeable conversation with the person while you were carrying a weapon. You also are not justified in using force against a designated peace officer while they are in the course of doing their job. 

You can learn more about defending yourself from assault charges by continuing to explore our site.